Only AIDS and the Spanish flu are more deadly than Corona

BerlinThe number of officially registered deaths from Covid-19 has passed the five million mark. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the actual number of victims to be two to three times as much. This means that Corona is far more devastating than most of the other virus epidemics and pandemics of the 20th and 21st centuries. Only the Spanish flu and AIDS killed more people. Here are some numbers for comparison:

In 2009 the so-called swine flu, caused by the H1N1 virus, was rampant. Initially, 18,500 fatalities from this pandemic were officially reported. According to the journal The Lancet, however, far more people actually died – between 151,700 and 575,400. The SARS virus spread from China in 2002 and 2003 and was the first coronavirus to cause fears around the world. 774 people died from the infection.

Up to 100 million deaths from Spanish flu

Around five million people fall seriously ill with the flu every year, between 290,000 and 650,000 die of it, according to the WHO.

Far more people died from flu pandemics caused by new, non-seasonal influenza viruses. The Asian flu from 1957 to 1958 and the Hong Kong flu from 1968 to 1970 each resulted in approximately one million deaths.

The so-called Spanish flu was most devastating in the years 1918 to 1919. According to recent calculations, 50 to 100 million people died in three successive waves. That is far more deaths than the ten million of the First World War.

Ebola more dangerous than Corona – but less contagious

An infection with the Ebola virus is much more dangerous than with Sars-CoV-2: 50 percent of the sick die. Nevertheless, the death toll from the pathogen discovered in 1976 is far lower than that of Corona. Because Ebola is less contagious because the virus is not transmitted through the air, but only through direct, close contact. Around 15,300 people have died in several Ebola outbreaks in Africa so far.

Other tropical viruses can also be deadly. Dengue fever, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, has been on the rise for two decades. According to the WHO, several thousand people die from it every year.

Medicines significantly reduce the death rate from AIDS

AIDS is by far the deadliest pandemic in recent times: since 1980, almost 36.3 million people worldwide have died of the incurable disease that attacks the immune system. There is still no effective vaccine, but antiretroviral drugs can stop the disease and greatly reduce the risk of transmission. Thanks to this therapy, according to the UN organization UNAids, the number of deaths has fallen from its high of 1.7 million in 2004 to 680,000 in 2020.

In poorer countries in particular, more than a million people die every year from infections with hepatitis B and C viruses, which are mainly transmitted via the blood.

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Only AIDS and the Spanish flu are more deadly than Corona